'Greece has turned page,' Tsipras tweets after Luxembourg deal

Marco Green
June 26, 2017

"Optimistic", his Greek counterpart Euclid Tsakalotos said, marking a clear change to his more negative mood earlier in the week.

The IMF financially contributed to Athens' previous bailouts but refused to join the current pact because it believes Greece needed debt relief - something that European creditors aren't comfortable with.

Greece has relied on bailout money for seven years and hopes that it will be able to stand on its own feet when the bailout ends. In essence, that could mean payments could be postponed in the event of an adverse shock.

The money means Greece can meet the full extent of its repayments that are due in July.

European creditors on Thursday approved giving Greece 8.5 billion euros ($9.5 billion) in bailout cash to meet a big summer repayment and promised that the burden of the country's future debt repayments would be eased.

Furthermore, the Eurogroup chose to extend maturities for the country's loan payments by up to 15 years, if necessary. Last month he said everything pointed to stronger growth in Greece.

Eurozone group chairman Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the deal spanned "all elements" under discussion.

Greece says it has done its part after legislating further pension cuts and tax hikes demanded by lenders to convince the International Monetary Fund to participate.

But Berlin, Greece's sternest critic, has resisted any fresh commitment to debt relief, saying Athens did not need it and must continue reforms.

"Greece has fulfilled its commitments and adopted the required reforms".

Schaeuble said on Tuesday he was confident that Greece would reach a deal with lender this week.

June's Eurogroup meeting in Luxembourg finally managed to wrap up an agreement on Greece, after months of uncertainty. It needs to be a "success", he added.

The Washington-based International Monetary Fund had refused to take part in this third Greek bailout until European creditors agreed on far-reaching proposals to ease Greece's debt burden.

Germany's parliament will discuss the bailout deal on Friday, finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

"It's hard. It's complicated", he said before talks with Tsipras.

The Greek government, whose popularity has fallen sharply as it imposed more austerity measures, faced more criticism Thursday when more than 2,000 elderly protesters marched through central Athens to demonstrate against pension cuts.

The pensioners, some waving walking sticks, voiced outrage Thursday at the constantly diminishing size of their pensions, which many say they can no longer survive on.

Athens will likely have to wait for a long-desired agreement on wider debt relief, but officials said it would at least receive more "clarity" on the way ahead.

Led by Germany, the bloc has so far failed to see eye-to-eye with the fund over Greece's latest rescue, in particular the issue of debt relief.

While conceding that Greece didn't get everything it wanted, Tsakalotos said the country could now turn the page on its bailout era.

"I hope that today we will take a very positive step forward", said Dijsselbloem, who is also Dutch Finance Minister.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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